Breaking Free From Your Comfort Zone

Here are some things you can do to begin stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing new horizons

Your comfort zone is one of the biggest barriers you’ll face in your life. Naturally, people seek comfort at the expense of personal growth and new experiences. Compounding the issue, your comfort zone poses as the good guy: The protector who keeps you safe, when in reality it’s your prison warden.

Unfortunately, many people die in this prison cell under the illusion that they’re better off there. So how can you make sure you don’t suffer the same fate?

The comfort zone refers to your realm of familiarity. Anything that makes you nervous is outside of your comfort zone because you haven’t built the familiarity, competence, and comfort with that activity, as you haven’t exposed yourself to it.

Even though the comfort zone acts as a haven, it’s also restrictive. Personal growth involves pushing yourself, trying new things, and sailing into the uncharted territory of your consciousness and well-being, which is why the comfort zone is a natural enemy of it.

So let’s look at what you can do to break out of this trap of familiarity so that you can get the most out of your life experience.

What is the comfort zone?

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Image your comfort zone as a bubble. Inside this bubble is everything that you’re familiar with. This might involve going to work, seeing the same friends, and doing the same things. These activities are ordinary to you because you’re always doing them, meaning you’re not stretching yourself in any way.

If you have driven a car for a while, you are probably comfortable driving it, therefore that activity is inside your comfort zone. But if you’re starting a new job in a different industry, you’re not familiar with that process, therefore it’s outside your comfort zone.

What's wrong with the comfort zone?

The comfort zone is deceptive because it deters you from doing things that you’re nervous, anxious, or fearful about. This bubble is warm and secure. You feel safe in it, but the problem is that you get complacent. Instead of pushing yourself and growing, you settle for the mundane and ordinary.

Some people will avoid doing anything outside of their daily routine. They will avoid trying new things, meeting new people, having new experiences, or taking risks. Instead of exploring their minds and discovering new paths to walk in life, they stick to what they know. There’s nothing wrong with a little comfort, but avoiding anything that you’re uncomfortable with leads to a stagnant and unfulfilling life.

You might be offered a new job but fear the consequences of leaving your old one. You could have the urge to travel but worry about everything that could go wrong. You might be lonely and want to expand your social circles, but get anxious when meeting new people.

Even if the worst happens, it’s usually not as bad as we’ve built it up to be. But you don’t do it anyway! So you stay in the same shitty circumstances while your life ticks away. But if you did make a habit of getting out of your comfort zone and facing the discomfort of doing new things, your quality of life would become so much better.

Why you need to expand your comfort zone

Sticking to your comfort zone deters personal growth. You certainly won’t make the most of your life if you never take the initiative to expand what you’re comfortable with (by doing things you’re uncomfortable with).

As a big proponent of personal growth (which is why I made this website), I encourage you not to get too comfortable. You deserve the best life possible, and you can only have that life by constantly stretching yourself in ways that don’t always feel so good.

If you want to get the full experience out of life, you need to make a habit of stretching yourself often. The best experiences in life are usually the result of doing what you were once afraid to do.

Therefore it’s important to do what you can to expand your comfort zone, break the fear barrier, and expose yourself to the unfamiliar. Start with this article I wrote about taking a leap of faith to get your journey started.

How to expand your comfort zone

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To start something new, there will usually be some fear around it. This is completely natural when doing something that you’re not familiar with. Until you push through that barrier, it remains a daunting mystery. It remains uncertain, and you don’t know how much value it can add to your life until you try it.

Here are some suggestions to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and to get the ball rolling.

Eroding the comfort zone: Expose yourself to new things

Exposure erodes uncertainty. Repetition leads to familiarity.

If you talk to new people every day, the practice becomes easier. Eventually, you become comfortable with meeting new people because it becomes second nature. Later down the track, you might question your life without those people, but you would never know unless you took the opportunity to be uncomfortable.

Exposure leading to familiarity applies to everything you do in life. As you do new things constantly, you become familiar with more, and your breadth of experience widens.

There is only one path to familiarity, and that’s by doing it anyway. Realize that most fear is exacerbated, and every time you do something it gets easier. All you need to do is push yourself to make the first step, take a chance, and you will not regret it.

Jump on new opportunities

There’s a whole world of opportunity out there. Start by pursuing more opportunities in your life, and spicing it up a little. Likely you don’t realize just how many opportunities you have all the time, because subconsciously you don’t want to acknowledge them.

So be observant of all the opportunities around you, and push yourself to jump on them. Of course, you don’t need to go full throttle on this, but start dipping your toes in uncharted waters. If you get an invitation for a social event and you’re nervous that you won’t know anyone or it will be awkward for you, maybe it will be. But you should do it anyway.

Worst case scenario, it’s going to be a little awkward. I’m certain that you will be proud of yourself for actually doing it, and at the end of the day, that’s what really matters. It doesn’t matter if it turned out to be a big success or not. It’s making the commitment that matters.

The more commitments you make to new opportunities that present themselves, the better off you’re going to be. First, you’re going to have more experiences which means more learning and growth, delicious! Second, you’re going to start becoming more competent because you’re exposing yourself to something new. To go deeper into pursuing opportunities, read the article below

Be patient with results

We all suck on Day-One. Nobody can shortcut this process of gradually learning and gaining the associated competence.

You need to go through the process of trial and error to become proficient at something. Everybody sucks when they first start doing something, it takes time to build up the competence. There is always a learning curve to anything you do in life, and this learning curve is an essential part of your development.

So don’t expect yourself to do well, just do it. Just start, and then start improving. Perhaps a reason why you’re not pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is because you have too high expectations for yourself. Try coming down to Earth, failing at something, and going from there.

Look into your insecurities

People often avoid things that they are insecure about. If you are insecure about yourself and fear disapproval, meeting new people is probably going to be uncomfortable for you. A minor fear bloats into a life-or-death scenario, but sometimes you just need to put it into perspective.

Whatever you are insecure about will cause blocks. It becomes harder to do something that you’re insecure about because the puncture of failure seems much deeper. The best way to go about this is to recognize what you are insecure about and look at how it’s holding you back.

Introspect and look deeply into your fears. Why do you fear these things, why does it matter so much? Think whether your fear is a real fear with very real dangers, or whether it’s something that has been pulled out of proportion. The only way to face these insecurities is to look into them and take steps to desensitize them.

Be honest with yourself

If you actually want to expand your comfort zone and see all the personal growth benefits by doing so, you need to be honest with yourself. This means to acknowledge what you’re not going because you’re afraid of doing it, and why you’re holding back.

If you enjoy the finer things in life and don’t see the appeal in backpacking the world, no worries! But if you say that you prefer luxury to feel better about not getting out of your comfort zone and backpacking if it interests you, then that’s no bueno.

You need to draw a line between something not being for you because you genuinely won’t (think you will) enjoy the activity, or holding back because you’re afraid of doing it. As with anything, awareness is key.

Therefore, cultivate an awareness of why you’re not pushing yourself, and notice every time an opportunity to do so arises.

Take action and expand your comfort zone

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If you want to be the best version of yourself, it’s in your best interest to be the most knowledgeable and competent person that you can be. You can only gain these attributes by pushing your limits and doing things that are scary at times.

Face your fears and ascend as a human being, or stay the same as you have always been. Discern real risks, and those that are not. Use every opportunity life presents to expand your comfort zone, by continuously pushing against the wall of fear and making a habit out of doing so.

Every small risk that you take is a victory. See how much you can step out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just a tad such as trying a new dish, or talking with the cashier at a store. Slowly build upon your calculated risks, and work at doing it more often until taking a risk is no longer a big deal.

There is so much happiness waiting for you in the world, you just need to discover it. You can only discover it by searching for it. What are you waiting for?


Bey 27 February 2021 - 10:52 am

One of my fave articles.

Daniel Hannah
Daniel Hannah 27 February 2021 - 10:57 am

Glad you enjoyed it.


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